J.R. Smith will decline the player option in his current Cavaliers contract, becoming an unrestricted free agent this summer. Smith, a major contributor on the Eastern Conference champions, calculates he’ll command more than the approximately $5.4 million he’d be due if he took the Cavaliers option.
Other big name players like Jeremy Lin in Charlotte have made a similar move. The salary cap is going up and the players who can get free from current commitments stand to benefit the most. The Cavaliers probably won’t let Smith walk. Smith also brings a pretty powerful tool to the negotiating table with him. Last year Cavs big man Tristan Thompson hired LeBron James’s agent Rich Paul and his Klutch Sports enterprise to negotiate his deal with the Cavs — and it was a rich one. Smith hired Paul in March.